At 27 years old, I had never really had bad acne. I had a few pimples here in there in my life, but nothing super concerning. I used over the counter acne treatments and really that was it. It was never a huge concern in my life. I took really good care of my skin and washed my face daily, took all my makeup off, did everything you are supposed to do.
Then all of a sudden, one day I woke up with red, inflamed acne all over my chin. Hoping it would go away, I went to get a facial, which I had already done pretty regularly. I had been getting them every six months at this point, and still do.
It was still the end of summer and the esthetician promised that if I bought their product, it would go away. She said it was the heat that was causing this painful acne on my chin. Desperate to try anything, I did so. Unfortunately, it did not work for me. I was in full-on panic mode.
The next thing I did was schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Moving to a new city, I did not have a dermatologist, although I had one when I was younger. I had a great recommendation for a dermatologist from my boss and went there.
The dermatologist prescribed me some topicals and put me on a prescription pill medication, spironolactone. Originally used as a blood pressure medication and to treat heart failure, it also can help patients with hormonal acne. Sometimes patients and doctors are hesitant to go on or prescribe medication such as Accutane or spironolactone because of the side effects they can have.
Because the medication is a blood pressure medication, I had to get a blood test because it can make your potassium levels really high. It is also a diuretic and can make you have to pee constantly. It can also make you dizzy, or faint. Desperate to do anything, I went on it regardless. I was cleared for the medication and luckily I have had no side effects with it.
My dermatologist also advised me to go to a medical spa and get a salicylic acid chemical peel. I went, but OMG. I already have super sensitive skin, and this peel was rough. My face hurt for two days. It was red (it’s supposed to be) and a bit painful to say the least. And then, your face starts peeling! My face peeled for about 5 days, which is pretty embarrassing when you work with people and/or kids. But, with that said, I did see improvement with my skin upon getting one.
The peel helps exfoliate the skin, and in my case helped with this deep hormonal acne. While I will not be jumping up and down to get another one, I will definitely advocate for them. And, if needed, I would get one again. I know they work.
I have now been on spironolactone for two years. It honestly saved my life. Waking up in pain (it was painful to the touch) every day, and finding no solution was honestly one of the worst things I have gone through. It may sound dramatic, but I was obsessed. Every day that would be my first thought when I woke up. I would take pictures daily to track progress. My confidence was never lower. I didn’t want to socialize. I didn’t want to do anything. Friends told me I was being dramatic, and maybe I was. But, when there is something you have no control of, it is really tough mentally.
I have a pretty strict skincare routine now. I still wash my face twice a day. I use toners, I exfoliate twice a week, and I use my prescription topical medication nightly. I will occasionally get a pimple when I am about to get my period, and I still worry when I get one. But this medication regime I am on has kept everything under control and I have little to worry about. But, having experienced it once, you do worry with every little small acne spot. But I have been lucky.
My acne and face have been so clear with this medicine. I literally call it a lifesaver. I did not feel like myself when hormonal acne took over my life. Luckily, with spironolactone, my face cleared up in about two-three months. I felt like I had control over my life again.
I would not wish hormonal acne or any kind of acne on anyone. Until you experience it, you really don’t understand it. I will always say that dealing with this has made me a kinder, nicer, more sympathetic human being. I now understand that sometimes people really can’t help it, even when they are so desperately trying to fix something. Sometimes our bodies fight us on it. I have such sympathy for people who suffer from acne. I get it.
I was at a point where I was literally ready to try anything. I tried different face scrubs, different cleansers, you name it. What works for me won’t work for everyone. But, if you are struggling I do highly recommend seeing a dermatologist. I am so happy that I was able to find a solution and become myself again.